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I'm trying to make an app that will show an object from different sides, but the target will be too small for any real marker detection.

Think of a cube with one or two centimeter sides. The camera distance is not a problem but it has to be at least ten centimeters out or what I'm trying to do won't work.

I was wondering whether it was possible to color one side of the cube differently than others and make ARToolKit recognize the color to know which side it's looking at. Is this possible or just not in the range of things ARToolKit can do? If so, is there any kind of AR that can do this.

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Short answer: Theoretically, yes this is possible.

Long answer: ARToolKit has a feature called Natural Feature Tracking (NFT). This is what is used to have ARToolKit recognize images, rather than its usual QR code-looking things. However, ARToolKit converts all images to greyscale and then uses the changes in color of that grey image to track the image. Thus, it should be possible to track just one side of the cube by using the NFT feature, however, it will need to be a color that is still to the other faces of the cube even when converted to greyscale. Remember, though, that unless there is some variation within that face of the cube (i.e. not just one solid color), ARToolKit won't track very well.

I would suggest having each side of the cube be an image unique from the others but all following the same template. For example:

enter image description here

And then use ARToolKit's NFT feature for every face. This will allow each face to be recognized differently from the others.

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